by John Crowley
Time travel stories must be very tempting for SF writers; it's too bad that they're so difficult to write well. This is one of the better ones, although that's faint praise since I think most books in this sub-genre are critically flawed. Great Work of Time is quite short, and felt a little like it was abridged; we hardly get to know the characters. Crowley's logic of time travel is confusing (and unfortunately, confused), and the message of the book, which is essentially that there's no such thing as a free lunch, has been over-used in time travel stories. On the other hand, the book is well written and Crowley does some interesting things with the idea of a society dedicated to upholding the British Empire by editing history.
copyright © 1998 John Regehr